Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Exporting a solar study, part of Revit: Rendering.
- In this movie, we're going to look at creating animated solar studies. Now, we've talked about light settings, and particularly sun settings, a couple times throughout the course, but in this movie, what I'd like to do is actually animate the movement of the sun across the sky. Now, the way we're going to see that animation take place is in the movement of the shadows. So, I'm going to do a couple examples of this. The first example is going to be here in this interior shot. And what we'd like to see is how the shadows move across the space at different times throughout the day. So, what you do is you go to the sun-path icon, here on the view control bar, and then choose your sun settings.
Now, we've been in this dialogue before, and we focused mainly on doing still solar studies, so a single point in time. But we can do a single day or a multiple day solar study. So, let's take a look at the single day first. What we do when we choose this is we come over here, so we can set the date and the time. Now, it's not really that important what date we use, but I'm going to stick with the date that's in here, late January, because it's putting the sun nicely in the space. And then, you could set two times manually if you want, if you want to do a very specific period in time, like maybe from the hour that we open business to the time we close business.
But in this case, I'm actually going to check this box, which is going to do sunrise to sunset. So, based on the date I chose, Revit's going to choose the start and end times based on where the sun is. So, that's kind of nice. Now, under here, it says, "Time Interval," and it defaults to one hour, so that gives me ten frames total. So, between 7am and essentially 5pm, it'll give me ten points in time, one every hour. But you can actually drop the interval down to as little as every 15 minutes. So that's actually what I'm going to do, to give myself more frames, and you'll get a smoother animation when you do that.
Now, in this particular model, the floor here is at level one. So, I can leave this setting, Ground Plane, at level one. I could also uncheck it. It really wouldn't matter, because I actually have a floor slab here. So, you want to only check this, for sure, if you don't actually have any geometry at the Ground Plane, because then your shadows won't have anything to cast on. So, in my case, I could check it or not check it. I'll get the same result, because I do have a floor slab, but my floor slab also happens to be at level one.
So, either way, I'm going to get a good result. Now, I'm going to click this button here, "Save Settings," and describe what I've just created here. So, I'm going to call this "Late January Single Day," and then I'll click, "Okay." So, make sure your shadows are turned on. That's important, because you can't do a solar study unless the shadows are on. They were on already. And then, if I click the sun icon again, I'll get a new option up here on that small pop-up, to preview the solar study. That will give me some preview controls here, on the options bar.
You could step through the animation one frame at a time, or you could just simply click the "Play" button here and let the whole thing run. Now, it goes kind of quickly there, as you saw. So this is where it might be nice to kind of step through it individually. But as you can see it's moving the shadows across the floor. Now, if you're satisfied with that, you can go to the application menu, the big R, go to Export, come down here, to Images and Animations, and you can export a solar study.
Now, most of the options in here we've already looked at, when we exported a walk-through. So, all the options here are virtually the same. All the frames is what I'm going to export. Which visual style do you want, the size and the dimensions. So, I'm just going to accept all of the defaults, but I'm going to check this box here to include a date and time stamp. I'll give this a name, and I'll save it in my Exercise Files folder. I'll do Full Frames Compressed, like we did with the walk-through. And then when it's done, I can preview it in my video player of choice. And you can see that date and time stamp across the top, telling me what time it is.
So, that's a single day solar study, and I just happened to do an interior in this example. I do have one other file open here on screen. I've got an exterior view of the building, and I'm looking from the entrance here. And I've already created two additional solar studies in this file that I want to just preview in the view port for you. So, I'm going to go to the sun settings again, and I've got one that I called "One Year Each week at 4pm," and the other one "One Year Each week at 10pm." Now, this is a multi-day solar study, and you can see that the only difference between a single day and a multi-day is that you put in a date range this time.
So what I did was I put in a full year, and I'm putting the same time of day for each frame. So, it's going to show me, once a week, at 10am, across the entire year, and you can see here that I ended up with 53 frames. So, when I click Okay, Preview Solar Study, and click play, you're going to see the shadows move across the building at different times of the year. And so, you can get a sense of what it looks like early in the year and late in the year, and across the entire calendar, and get a sense of how everything looks.
And you know, you pick your various time of day. Got the same thing here, in this aerial perspective. But this time, I'm going to use the 4pm setting, instead of the 10am setting. Click "Okay." Preview it. And then you'll see the same basic thing, but now it's with the afternoon sun, instead of the morning sun. So, you can see how nice the solar studies are. They're very quick and easy to create, and they tell you a whole lot of information about how things are shaping up in the design of your building.
So, if you care at all about where the shadows are and what the neighboring buildings are doing on your site, or what the impact your building is having to the other buildings on the site, a solar study can be an invaluable tool to help you make good and informed design decisions.
- Creating 3D views and 3D cutaway views
- Adding details to the model
- Creating and editing materials
- Working with the sun system
- Working with lighting groups
- Configuring render settings
- Preparing a cloud render
- Creating a walkthrough
- Rendering a plan